House Bill 63
150th General Assembly (Present)
Becomes effective upon date of signature of the Governor or upon date specified
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 11 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO SAFE STORAGE OF FIREARMS.
This Act revises the crime of "unlawfully permitting a child access to a firearm," an existing class A misdemeanor under Delaware law. The offense is renamed "unsafe storage of a firearm" to place emphasis on firearm safety and proper storage. Under the revised statute, a crime is committed when a person intentionally or recklessly stores or leaves a loaded firearm where a minor or other person prohibited by law, or “unauthorized person,” can access the firearm, and the unauthorized person obtains the firearm. The unauthorized person’s use of the firearm to inflict serious physical injury or death is not an element of the offense, but is an aggravating factor. For the purposes of this offense, “stores and leaves” does not include when firearm is carried by or under the control of the owner or another lawfully-authorized user. Under this Act, the offense is a class B misdemeanor if there are no aggravating circumstances. If, however, the unauthorized person uses the firearm to commit a crime, uses the firearm to inflict serious physical injury or death upon anyone, or transfers the firearm to another unauthorized person, the offense is a class A misdemeanor. It is an affirmative defense that the person stored the firearm in a locked container, disabled it with a tamper-resistant trigger lock, or stored it in a location a reasonable person would have thought was safe from access by unauthorized persons. This Act provides an exception for firearms manufactured in or before 1899, or a replica to such firearms, if the replica is not designed or redesigned for using rimfire or conventional centerfire fixed ammunition. This Act also makes technical changes to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual.